Welcome to JustAnswer, and thank you for putting your trust in me!
You are correct in your assumption that your description is not
consistent with a diagnosis of apthous ulcer ("canker sores"). Apthae are conspicuously ulcerated, and they are certainly visible-- even the smallest apthae (i.e., the herpetiform variant), which appear in clusters, are quite obviously nothing like what you are describing. Also, apthous ulcers never occur on the top (dorsal) surface of the tongue, so if your lesions are located there, you can confidently dismiss apthous ulcer from the list of possibilities.
The difficulty with offering an diagnosis from a visual description is that the mouth in general, and the tongue in particular, has a relatively small repertoire of presenting signs and symptoms for a wide variety of different conditions and disorders. Certainly, there are those conditions that are so characteristic in appearance that they can be identified on sight, but the vast majority of others are non-specific in their presentation.
If I was to provide a likely name to put to your condition, I would say that it sounds most like "transient lingual papillitis", known in the vernacular as "lye bumps". These lesions, although uncomfortable, are considered benign and self-limited. They are of unknown cause, although sufferers often associate them with stress or the consumption of certain foods (pineapple seems to be a particular offender).
However, the severity of the condition suggested by your narrative would make it prudent to seek a more formal diagnosis, if only to rule out some of the more significant health problems that sometimes manifest as tongue pain. For this reason, you should consult with an oral pathologist. Clinicians in this specialty are particularly skilled and experience in the identification of oral conditions that may frustrate the diagnostic efforts of doctors not specifically trained in this field. Your dentist can provide you with a referral, or you may consult the online directory of the American Academy of Oral &:Maxillofacial Pathology
Hope this helps...