As we age, our intervertebral disks begin to dry out, weaken, become stiff, and begin to bulge. This causes a collapse of the disk space. As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away. If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, these bone spurs may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through (stenosis).