Inflammation plays an essential role in the development of lumbar disc degeneration (LDD), although the exact effects of macrophage subtypes on LDD remain unclear. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that M2-polarization of local macrophages and simultaneous suppression of their production of fibrotic transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) could inhibit progression of LDD. Thus, we applied an orthotopic injection of adeno-associated virus (AAV) carrying shRNA for DNA Methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and/or shRNA for TGFβ1 under a macrophage-specific CD68 promoter to specifically target local macrophages in a mouse model for LDD. We found that shDNMT1 significantly reduced levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6, significantly increased levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10, significantly increased M2 macrophage polarization, significantly reduced cell apoptosis in the disc degeneration zone and significantly reduced LDD-associated pain. The anti-apoptotic and anti-pain effects were further strengthened by co-application of shTGFβ1. Together, these data suggest that M2 polarization of macrophages induced by both epigenetic modulation and suppressed production and release of TGFβ1 from polarized M2 macrophages, may have a demonstrable therapeutic effect on LDD.