I have chronic back pain, and I take medicine (vicodin) that helps it minimally. I have no health insurance. I can't keep living with this pain!?

Different strategy . Unfortunately pain killers do not help in case of chronic back pain. I don't know your specific diagnosis but generally complex program which includes healthy diet, weight watching, smoking cessation, daily exercises, normalization of sleep and psychological interventions (mindfulness classes, cognitive-behavioral therapy, etc) may alleviate suffering associated with chronic pain.
How did it start? I would need more info to give an intelligent guess as to what you should do. You need some basic imaging, a physical therapy or physical medicine evaluation to see if there a biomechanical things that you can do that don't involve meds. Most back pain should not require surgery or strong pain medication. Most back pain originates in the back muscles and responsds well to appropriate treatment .