To determine self-reported health status in non-dystrophic myotonias (NDM) and its relationship to painful myotonia and fatigue. In a cross-sectional study, 32 NDM patients with chloride and 30 with sodium channelopathies, all off treatment, completed a standardised interview, the fatigue assessment scale (FAS), and the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). Beside formal assessment of pain, assessment of painful or painless myotonia was determined. The domain scores of the SF-36 were compared with Dutch community scores. Apart from the relationship among SF-36 scores and (1) painful myotonia and (2) fatigue, regression analyses in both NDM groups were conducted to determine the strongest determinants of the SF-36 domains general health perception, physical component (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS). All physically oriented SF-36 domains in both NDM groups (P <or= 0.01) and social functioning in the patients with sodium channelopathies (P = 0.048) were substantially lower relative to the Dutch community scores. The patients with painful myotonia (41.9%) scored substantially (P < 0.05) lower on most SF-36 domains than the patients without painful myotonia (58.1%). Fatigued patients (53.2%) scored substantially lower (P <or= 0.01) on all SF-36 domains than their non-fatigued counterparts (46.8%). The regression analysis showed that fatigue was the strongest predictor for the general-health perception and painful myotonia for the physical-component summary. None of the patients showed below-norm scores on the domain mental-component summary. The impact of NDM on the physical domains of patients' health status is substantial, and particularly painful myotonia and fatigue tend to impede their physical functioning.